This article is part of Football FanCast’s In Numbers series, which takes a statistical look at performances, season-long form and reported transfer targets…
Sunderland’s woes continued on Saturday despite Phil Parkinson mixing up both the style and personnel in his team.
The Black Cats’ boss has now tried multiple methods to bring out the best in his players, only to see the same mistakes being repeated and the same end results.
It was yet another game where his team looked lacklustre and uninspired in attack, managing just three shots on target despite recalling Marc McNulty to partner Will Grigg up-front.
The Northern Ireland international has struggled with just one league goal scored this campaign, so Parkinson was right to bring in a striker, but he could not have expected McNulty to deliver such an abysmal showing.
It was a chance for the 27-year-old to prove himself but the only thing he made certain is that Sunderland are in real need of a forward addition, as there is a worrying lack of quality, evidenced by their six goals in the previous ten matches.
It was a disastrous return to the starting line-up for McNulty as he offered very little impact in any area, and it is alarming that his best statistic was his two aerial duels won, as even that is below par.
Charlie Wyke took his place and performed a little better in terms of passing, with one key pass made, but Parkinson should make the addition of a new striker his priority in January.
Playing two forwards did have one positive, though, and that was the improved performance from Grigg, whose 41 touches meant that he was much more heavily involved than usual, and was supported rather than isolated up-front, for a change.
He also had two shots in the game and if Parkinson can bring in a player with better quality to play alongside him then he could become a more significant player for the Black Cats, and that should certainly offer his manager encouragement.
There could be better news on the horizon regarding the striking department, however, as the club are reportedly targeting a Championship forward in a bid to ease their struggles in front of goal.